New farmerless “farm” to break ground in Japan


Spread-vertical-farm-trays_jpg_662x0_q70_crop-scaleJapan will break ground on a new farmerless farm this summer. This indoor, fully automated farm will produce up to 17,000 heads of lettuce per day.

The lettuce is grown in hydroponically, automated systems essentially cutting labor in half . The 3500m green building being built by Spread, will utilize several energy saving technologies including a 30% electric reduction by using efficient LED lights. Water used to hydrate the plants goes through a filtration and sterilization process. This allows 98% of the water to be recycled. The facility HVAC system controls temperature and humidity providing an optimum climate for growing lettuce and in the future other vegetables as well.

This new system does not use soil, sunlight or a farmer. As a farmer I read this with a mix of fascination and dismay. To think that an underground, robotic run, manufacturing facility takes the place of something that many farmers think of as extremely personal. Most of my farmer friends, me included, feel a personal relationship with the earth and the process of nurturing the plants we raise. But as a farmer and food advocate I see the need to provide healthy foods in urban areas.  And it does solve an issue of providing fresh food in the winter.

“I don’t think vertical farming will take over the whole farming industry. I still think seasonal and local vegetables are very important and unique and is something to embrace.Our business and existing farms have to cohabit together. If you think about the global food situation there is a need for this kind of farming.” Stated the president of Spread, Shinji Inada.

The company plans to branch out into other vegetables as well.

Images (c) Spread

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